27 June 2014
Croft Circuit: Plato happy with RWD compromise
Jason Plato: Let's be clear, we weren't moaning about lap times, it was the leap-frogging of cars off the grid, the fact they can qualify fourth and lead into the first corner.
MG's Jason Plato has backed the recent RWD gear lengthening ruling while also clarifying his previous grievances were only targeting the start line advantage the BMW's and Audi's possessed.
From this weekend's BTCC round at Croft and onwards the RWD BMW and Audi machines, led by the recent series leader Colin Turkington, will have to run a longer first gear in a bid to eradicate their undeniable start line advantage.
Plato was one of the leading FWD runners to voice their concern following the Oulton Park weekend in which BMW and Turkington utterly dominated but the MG man makes clear that his comments were only aimed at how the RWD cars get off the line, not their overall performance.
Coupled with the recent series ruling and his leading title rivals carrying more success ballast, the former double champion believes a stronger Croft should be on the cards.
“I think we stand a good chance this weekend,” said Plato. “It has historically been a good stomping ground for RWD cars, but with Turkington on maximum ballast after Oulton, that could level things; he only pipped me last year as he was running less weight in the car than me.
“Now the first gear issue for RWD has been resolved, in theory qualifying now means something again. Let's be clear, we weren't moaning about lap times, it was the leap-frogging of cars off the grid, the fact they can qualify fourth and lead into the first corner.”
Although Plato describes Croft as his 'spiritual home' the KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver also emphasises there will be no room for error in the set-up department on a circuit which rewards only a versatile package.
“Croft is a spiritual home circuit for me. I've been lucky to get good support there in the past; it's a nice weekend,” he said.
“The BTCC event there is the biggest motorsport show at the circuit, and it's the only opportunity for locals to watch top drivers at the track. It's great to see so many fans at any race, but at Croft they turn up in their tens of thousands. I think it's fair to say Croft loves the BTCC and vice versa, it's a great track.
“Croft is a challenging circuit, it has very, very fast sections and some technically very tricky parts too. Your car has to be well-balanced at Croft and while you can never get a perfect car, the laws of physics never allow for that, you have to work closely with your engineer to get as close as you can.
“Similarly race setup at Croft is very different to that in which your qualify, and it's naturally an understeery circuit, so you have to minimise front tyre wear, which is another reason why RWD cars often go so well here.”
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